Wednesday, 5 March 2008

An Abundance of Tides by William Hammett

Sailors know too well
the running of marrow in their bones,
slate-gray dreams heaving them at angles
to the horizon—jagged, rolling—
as they ride meridians and sloping sorrows
to a compass point south of Capricorn.

They know of their blood’s own salt
and the odd rhythms that swell the heart,
tempting it with fathoms,
the same heart once married to soil
and content to split wood on the far side
of some forsaken country lane.


We have all crawled from the deep,
have all spawned amniotic dreams
of that time before minerals became as hard
as a life curved into gravity.
Such an awful legacy—to lumber forth on fins
while ancestors jackknife in foam.

We are all proverbial and pre-ordained,
seasick sailors who nevertheless ship our souls
to the deep where rolls our home
in measured strains from the moon:
“return, ye children of the single cell—
return.”

And like Ishmael,
we pause before the coffin warehouses
and spy funerals with a love too dear.
We take to our ships, cast off the lines,
knowing there is an abundance of tides
to help us circumnavigate
the drizzly November of the soul.




William Hammett, Louisiana, USA

7 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

William Hammett has published poetry in Black Buzzard Review, Lynx, The Lyric, Angelflesh, Poets At Work, American Poets & Poetry, Parnassus Literary Journal, Tight, Pegasus, The Rockford Review, Poem, Offerings, Twilight Ending, Creative Juices, Mojo Risin', and others.

Charles Gramlich said...

An excellent piece. I like the extended metaphor here, and particularly the connection between amniotic and having arisen from the sea. Nice work.

Billy said...

Thanks, Charles. This is an older poem, one with tougher syntax--and I finally found the right outlet for it. All good things come to he who waits??!!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great poem, with something coming from a familiarity and loneliness far deep; alluring "the children of a single cell" even if I don't understand why a single cell. But is it not sometimes what we don't understand exactly what allures us more?
Davide Trame

Billy said...

Davide, thank for reading. The single cell was about how we all came from the sea, from the single cell that evolved, so that we all still have a bit of sea in the blood.

Jo said...

Excellent, Billy, this is a strong, beautifully written piece.

tumblewords said...

I love the strength of these words, the definite and sureness of their useage. Particular like the 'November of the soul'